Weeknote: 10 to 14 June 2019

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Monday was our 14th wedding anniversary, so Caroline and I went for afternoon tea at a country house hotel. The variety and quantity of cake defeated me

1. What do I need to take care of?

  • Late on Friday, I finally got access to some data I need so I can work on our organisation change proposal. I need to give that as much time and attention as I possibly can next week.
  • Partly because of that, I had to make a difficult decision to let down one of our staff diversity networks, who are running an event for managers on Monday. I really wanted to be there, but cannot be in two places at once.

2. What inspired me this week?

  • As ever, the Digital Urgent and Emergency Care team’s show and tell.
  • The speakers’ dinner for Camp Digital, chatting with fellow speakers including Dana Chisnell, Jared Spool and Rachel Xavier, and waving down the dinner table to Sarah, Jonny and Bex.
  • Camp Digital the following day was awesome. The hosts, Sigma, put so much effort into making the event enjoyable and inclusive for everyone, including live captioning all the talks.

3. How did I uphold our design principles / NHS Constutition?

  • In my Camp Digital talk, besides listing the design principles, I included three quotes that combine to tell the story of why we do what we do, in the way that we do it:

“When a link’s too small or a button’s too fiddly, it’s doubly depressing because it reminds me of my condition.” – User research participant with Parkinson’s Disease

“I like it [the NHS app]. But more important than me liking it, the design has been led by user testing and user need.
” – Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

“We shall never have all we need. Expectations will always exceed capacity. The service must always be changing, growing and improving – it must always appear inadequate.” – Aneurin Bevan, Minister for Health

  • I hope listeners were inspired to come and help us in this huge and important service design mission across health and care.

4. What connections did I make?

  • Chatted with Joanna about capability building, the quality improvement movement in health and care, and how we might bring designers closer to it.
  • Tero and I had a Google Hangout with colleagues from NHSX about the service mapping work that Tero recently shared.
  • At Camp Digital I joined panel discussion about ethics in design with Bex from Tech for Good Live and fellow conference speaker Cennydd. Once again the subject of professionalisation of design came up.

5. How did I make expectations clear?

  • In my Camp Digital talk, I shared some of the things I expect of all designers at NHS Digital – to always understand the intent behind the work they are doing, and to have the craft skills to be able to execute it effectively.
  • I was delighted to see a quote from my most recent 6-month-note popping up, judiciously edited, at the NHS Digital Academy.
  • One of the practice leads in my profession sought me out for advice about the work they’re doing. Of course they’re doing it brilliantly. I hope I was able to provide encouragement and context, while keeping the practice lead in control of their own next steps.

6. What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • I’m working more and more with my NHS Digital leadership colleagues on various aspects of the change we need to make in ways of working: different roles, new team structures, and new ways of thinking for everyone in our directorate. People are coming on that journey at different speeds and in different ways depending on the teams they’re in, and their past experience of how things get done around here. Without exception, everyone is approaching these changes in a thoughtful and open manner.
  • On Friday afternoon, I observed the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, the second of two board observations I’m making for the next Nye Bevan Programme residential. The meeting opened with an opportunity for the public to ask questions, which was taken up by a group of people with learning disabilities asking for greater inclusion in the way services are designed. I was impressed by the way the chair and board members responded to that challenge and invited the group to work with them. There was also an interesting dynamic in the discussions about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and how its plan related to the longer-established system-wide working at city level.

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